Saturday, August 18, 2007
Brooks Brothers Peal & Co three-eyelet unlined chukka boots in light tan suede with a crepe rubber sole. In common parlance, these are called desert boots, and the design originated with boots that officers in the British Eighth Army bought to wear during campaigning in North Africa during World War II. They were popularized in 1949 by a man named Nathan Clark, a member of the Clark family that owned a shoemaking firm, who saw them on British Army officers and thought that they would make a great civilian shoe. They were a fabulous success, and just about every manufacturer has offered their own rendition of the boot. Mine, which were delivered yesterday, are from Brooks Brothers and bear the label Peal & Co. Peal was a celebrated British bespoke shoemaker, and when they folded up shop in the middle of the 20th Century, Brooks Brothers bought the trademark. Since then, Brooks has sold many, many shoes under the Peal & Co. label from a variety of English shoe manufacturers, including Edward Green, Crockett & Jones, and Alfred Sargent. If I were a betting man, I would bet that these are from Alfred Sargent. They're decent enough shoes -- the last is relatively shapely, the boots are cut above the bulge of the ankles, the crepe rubber soles make the shoes cushy and comfortable (for those who don't know what crepe rubber is, think rubber the consistency of those gum rubber erasers that you had in elementary school). I wish that there were a strap reinforcing the back seam, and I wish that the manufacturer had done a better job skiving the leather pieces at that seam (there's too much of a ridge, which should not be). But they were only $225. At the full price of $450, they would have been too much. At half price, I think I got a decent bargain.